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Finding a comfortable chair

Apart from the height and armrests, there are other points worth looking out for when finding a comfortable chair.

The seat

You should look closely at the seat to make sure it’ll give you support, comfort and a firm base to push up from. You should think about the following:

  • Check the cushion is made from good-quality foam (cheaper foams may go soft and start sagging after a few months).
  • Try to avoid seats that sag like a hammock when you sit in them. This can be uncomfortable as you’re resting on the base of the seat. It may make it also difficult to get up.
  • Avoid narrow seats – there should be enough room for you to easily change position as staying in the same position can be uncomfortable.
  • Check that the seat isn’t too deep as it may not be good for your back. It may also be difficult to get out again. The seat should be just deep enough to fully support your thighs when you sit as far back as possible.

Backrests

It’s important that your back is fully supported. A backrest that’s gently sloped to fit the curves of your back is helpful. But everybody’s back is different, so it’s important to try before you buy. You should think about the following:

  • Check that the backrest isn’t at an awkward angle. If it slopes too far forward, it'll stop your back muscles relaxing as they'll be forced to keep working to stop you slumping forward. If it slopes too far backwards, it'll make it harder to get up.
  • Check that the backrest is high enough to support all of your back, shoulders and head. This is particularly important if you have ankylosing spondylitis or other back problems.
  • If there’s a headrest, make sure it doesn’t push your head forward as this will cause neck ache.
  • Some people like to use a reclining chair so that they can change their posture easily but remain supported.

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